Julia Merfeld, 21, was arraigned Thursday on charges of solicitation of murder. If she is convicted, Merfeld could face life in prison.
Investigators said the person Merfeld believed was a hit man was actually an undercover police officer. The case began with a tip.
"Had the tip not been received into our office and this had gone forward as the defendant intended it, there would be a homicide we would be investigating," Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler said.
Investigators said they believe the motive was money from an insurance policy.
Merfeld is being held on $500,000 bond.